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Rogue Performer Preview: I Sit On My Arse & Play Piano

IN THE February 17 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andMusic,
andRogue Festival
SECTIONS

by Mark Nunis

Rogue Festival is almost here! But just like most things, this year will be different, as it will be virtual. However, KRL will still have performer preview articles, an article about virtual Rogue, reviews (all can be found in our Rogue Festival section), and an event page. So I hope you all check out Rogue this year and all of our articles! You can also learn more on the Rogue Festival website. We also have an article up now about Virtual Rogue.

I Sit On My Arse & Play Piano
isn’t just the name of my Rogue Festival debut, it’s what I do for a living, almost every day for over twenty-five years. You see, I’m a professional piano bar entertainer. My show will be funny, a bit cheeky, and will include a collection of original songs and personal stories, like these…

My (virtual) musical journey from Melbourne, Australia, to Fresno, California, began like this. My grandfather began teaching me how to play organ when I was six years old. He was a great musician and played a number of instruments. He was a great teacher, too! Mum and Dad did a lot for me in regards to looking for the right teachers and getting me into the best schools to pursue my passion.

Mark Nunis

I began playing professionally at age sixteen, and for ten years, I was involved in the Melbourne 50’s Rock-n-Roll scene, playing all around Australia for different festivals and dance events. But I first heard boogie woogie played on piano when I was thirteen. From that time I set out to listen and learn about that style as much as I could, pre-Google! I went through a lot of cassette tapes in my younger days.

In 2004, I joined the entertainment team of Howl @ The Moon, a dueling piano bar venue. That’s where I started to learn the art of being a piano bar entertainer, taking and playing requests, and working the crowd. I had found my calling! Since then I have traveled all around Australia playing corporate events, pubs, and various other functions. I was eventually asked to play on cruise ships as a guest entertainer. The past few years I’ve been traveling quite a lot around the Pacific Ocean. I even got to sail to Hawaii. And now I’ll be playing, virtually, at the Rogue Festival in Fresno.

Putting together my show for the Rogue had its challenges. As a piano bar entertainer, I try to make my shows as interactive as possible. But in this pre-recorded show, I’m trying to build a rapport through a lens. But thanks to the wonders of video editing, I’ll be playing a few instruments simultaneously, something I’ve never done before. This show has given me the opportunity to play songs I have written, unlike playing covers of popular songs the way I normally do. Some of them are new, some have been “in the vault” for awhile. Most of them are in blues and jazz styles as that’s what I enjoy listening to. There won’t be any requests this time, but I’m going to go live after each show with a Q&A. I’m looking forward to engaging with the audience, even if we aren’t in the same room!

It’s been a real treat collaborating with my cousin, Marcel Nunis (some of you may have heard of him). He doesn’t play a musical instrument, but he has what it takes to assemble a performance! It was amazing to work with him and to learn from him about how to put a show together. Due to the time difference between Australia and the US, it was interesting to coordinate times. I’ve also had a lot of assistance here at home with filming and photography from another cousin, Darren Nunis. Part of my show includes some other family members from around the world, including my cousin Alemay Ferandez from Singapore and my uncles from Queensland and Perth.

Creating this show has been tiring and time consuming but mostly a whole lot of fun. I’ve learned some new tricks, and creative ideas have spring out many times. And now that the hard part is over, I’m looking forward to sitting on my arse and playing piano for a new audience at the Rogue Festival!

You can find show times and purchase tickets on the Rogue Festival website.

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